Love Does Not End

I started writing this post after returning from a memorial service on Sunday. Something that is now becoming part of a new “norm” for our family. Slater’s Funeral Home arranged the service in memory of everyone who passed this year. The purpose of the service was to help cope with the holidays and honor the lives of those we love.

When you have a baby there are a lot of firsts that you celebrate, first Christmas and birthday for example. When you lose someone you also have those firsts, but you don’t celebrate. Learning to cope with those firsts are very hard. Each one of these firsts exposes a new pain that we must deal with as we continue to experience the loss of our loved one.

Thanksgiving was very difficult for me and I know December and January will be difficult as well. I want to be able to talk to her again, I want to hug her and hear her say “Uncle Lou” again. Just because I am her Uncle doesn’t mean I hurt less, my love for Amber is very strong and the pain from losing her is just as painful.

My love for Amber will NOT end and lives on forever.

Today, December 4th will be 6 months since we lost Amber.

Six months ago we received a call from the medical examiner. The call was left on voice mail and hearing it shreds my heart. The tone of voice as they speak. The feeling of a stone thrashed into your chest to stop your breathing in shock. The constant struggle to handle sadness and disbelief.

I have loved Amber as my own daughter since she was born. I was honored when her parents asked me to be her Godfather. She and I had a very close relationship. Talking to her about her goals and seeing her with my children, her cousins who she wanted them to call her Aunt, brought joy me. I know the love that she felt for my girls and that they fell for her. My girls still today feel Amber was more of a sister to them than a cousin.They looked up to her, she would teach them to dance and was anxious for their recitals just as I was when Amber had dance recitals.

I am dreading these next months and know they will be hard. I am grateful that we have a very strong family, everyone is supporting each other. Waiting on her headstone to be placed and planning a memorial for her birthday, January 2nd. A birthday in which she would have been 25.

My mission in life is now to help others in Amber’s name. People think that addicts are “junkies”, but I know they are real people who have feelings and are usually hurting very badly and need love and help. People who are struggling to break free from the chains of addiction, and usually there are tragic scars the drugs are hiding that they need help working through.

This doesn’t mean to enable them in their addiction but it does mean to love them. Addiction is a family disease, impacting everyone that loves the addict. The addict is a son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, niece, nephew, grandfather, grandfather, aunt, uncle and friend. Addiction does NOT discriminate based on financial status, race or religion.

I ask you to please remember that addicts are suffering, most of them are using at some point just to feel normal. Chasing the “high” is now trying to feel normal and not be sick daily. Just love them, don’t enable but love.